Tony Romo stepped off the field and into the CBS broadcast booth in 2017 and in short order became the best NFL game analyst on TV.
Romo’s success has been so strong that others have tried to replicate it to much more diminishing returns. ESPN hired Romo’s former tight end Jason Witten to join the Monday Night Football booth, where he struggled mightily and was widely panned by viewers, ultimately leaving the booth to return to the field for the Cowboys this fall. Romo, meanwhile, is as beloved as any color commentator can be in sports, with a propensity for calling plays before they happen and actually using his deep football knowledge to offer useful insight to viewers.
After the 2019 season, Romo’s contract with CBS will run up and he will be seeking a much larger deal, according to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News. Per McCarthy, Romo’s representatives are very aware of his value and are hoping to get him eight figures annually from CBS, making him the first analyst to make $10 million or more per year — legendary analyst John Madden made $8 million per year on his last deal.
CBS has plenty of incentive to keep Romo and will be looking to lock him up before he becomes a free agent on an extension this season. If ESPN struggles to find a big name to fill the void in their MNF booth this offseason, they would surely be major players for Romo’s services. Still, Romo clearly has a strong bond with Jim Nantz and the two have made for the best booth pairing the NFL’s had in years.
There are two main questions that will determine where Romo is in two years. One will be whether CBS is willing to give Romo quarterback money for one game a week, but they hold the rights to match any offer he receives from another company, per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, and know how big of a loss it would be to have him doing games for someone else — even if not a direct competitor like ESPN. The other is whether Romo wants to lock himself into being a game analyst primarily for the near future.
He’s excellent at it, but he has many opportunities outside of football that he could take. Still, while doing one game a week requires far more than just showing up on Sunday to call a game, it does offer him ample time to pursue outside interests and play plenty of golf. If he can get $10 million and keep that flexibility the rest of the week, one would think he’ll jump at it.